EASTLEIGH’S National League improvement hit a roadblock with a disappointing 1-0 loss at future-threatened Southend United.

The Shrimpers are having a world of problems with back-to-back relegations from League One to non-league, while chairman Ron Martin has come under fire with the supporter’s trust fearing the slide could lead to “complete extinction.”

They were without victory in seven games, having lost the last four, and despite the win to stop the rot a mass protest against Martin was staged by fans on the pitch at full time.

Daily Echo: Fans unfurled large banners with anti-owner messages (Pic: Matthew Temple)Fans unfurled large banners with anti-owner messages (Pic: Matthew Temple)

Nathan Ferguson’s second half strike earned their first win since the opening day of the season, and put a dent in Ben Strevens and the Spitfires’ hopes of continuing to climb up the table.

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Although they have one game in hand, they are now seven points adrift from the top seven despite a makeover of the squad and a number of high-profile signings being made during the summer.

They had picked up seven points from the last 12 available, after failing to win any of the first four, and travelled to Southend in the hopes of extending what was a decent run – but the plans were scuppered.

Strevens named an unchanged side from the one that drew 1-1 with high-flyers Boreham Wood during the BT Sport televised clash on Saturday.

Ben House could have had the opener for the Spitfires within the first five minutes but was unable to latch onto Danny Whitehall’s tantalising ball across the box.

Then he had another opportunity to open, this time at the end of the half, receiving Tom Whelan’s through ball but sending his shot into the side netting.

Daily Echo: Eastleigh's Sam Smart walks off the pitch at full time (Pic: Matthew Temple)Eastleigh's Sam Smart walks off the pitch at full time (Pic: Matthew Temple)

But the hosts then turned the screw, despite failing to connect with three quickfire chances to start the second period that rattled the Spitfires defence.

Ferguson broke the deadlock with a thunderous strike from the edge of the area into the top corner, leaving only just over 20 minutes to respond.

Former Saint Jake Hesketh had a long-range effort skid just the past in the closing stage but there was to be no equaliser.